Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016 - (Page 26)
FIXED OPS JOURNAL
"We started with the retailers with the highest volume - and the
ones growing the fastest - because they would give us the biggest
bang for the buck." TOM DOLL, Subaru of America, on the FOX program
Adding capacity to match sales gains
urging U.S. sales at Subaru of America Inc. and FCA US over the past
several years have opened up opportunities for their dealerships'
service departments - if those dealerships
can handle the additional business.
Subaru's U.S. new-vehicle sales are on track
for their eighth straight record and ninth
straight gain this year. Its sales more than
tripled to 582,675 in 2015 from 187,208 in 2007.
During that period, Subaru's market share
climbed to 3.3 percent from 1.2 percent.
FCA's sales, led by Jeep, more than doubled to 2,243,907 last year from 931,402 in
2009, the recessionary year when Chrysler
Group declared bankruptcy.
Both companies see meeting the service
needs of all those additional vehicles on the
road as a priority. Take care of those newly
conquested customers, the automakers fig-
ure, and they'll come back to buy again.
Conversely, give them a poor service experience on the first cars they owned from this
brand, and you've blown the chance to make
a second sale.
So both Subaru and FCA's Mopar operations are urging dealers to add the capacity
to handle many more vehicles than they
have previously. The following two stories
look at those efforts. ■
■ FCA-brands dealer taps software
tool to gauge future service needs
■ Subaru signs up 40% of dealers
for FOX program, mulls next phase
James B. Treece
Diana T. Kurylko
rett Saslow, dealer principal at Smith Haven Chrysler-JeepDodge-Ram in St. James, N.Y., knew he needed to add service
capacity. He was going to lose a half dozen off-site service
bays when his lease ran out. About two years ago, he began talking
with an architect about adding bays.
In August, Fiat Chrysler sent him a new tool: Mopar Service Capacity Analyzer. Saslow ran the numbers. His conclusion: Add 31
bays, instead of "the low 20s" he had been considering.
The software tool, offered to dealers free by FCA US, uses a dealership's existing service numbers, along with
registration data that map active and inacSales soar
tive customers within a geographic region,
to paint a picture of the dealership's service
The dealer can change inputs - adding
or subtracting technicians, changing techs
to four 10-hour shifts, or adding service
bays - to run a cost-benefit analysis. The
analyzer also comes with a guidebook with
instructions on how to switch to alterna2014 2,090,639
tive work schedules.
"The cool part" about the analyzer, Saslow
*Chrysler Group domestic
brands plus Fiat,
Source: Automotive News
has been sizable," with Subaru spending
between 25 and 30 percent more than it
expected on the program.
"It is well ahead of where we wanted to be. We started with the retailers with the highest volume - and the ones growing the fastest -
because they would give us the biggest bang for the buck," Doll said.
Dealers have until March to sign up but "we are not trying to push it
because we feel we have enough coverage," he said.
Not all dealers will have to participate in FOX, Doll said. Many
dealers in the Sun Belt, where Subaru has been expanding its footprint, have newer stores "that are sized right," and they don't need
to expand their service areas, he said.
Updated service areas also are seen as a way to improve Subaru's
low ratings in customer satisfaction surveys. Subaru was rated below average in last year's J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Customer
Service Index Study. Ⅲ
says, is "you could kind of pro-forma out,
based on your sales, reasonable sales
growth, retention" and other factors. "It put
a science to it," whereas expansions typically involve "a certain
amount of guesstimating."
Even before getting the analyzer, many FCA dealers were adding
service capacity. In 2015, FCA's U.S. dealerships added a net 620
service advisers and just more than 2,700 technicians to deal with
the added volume from the automaker's increased sales. They also
added the equivalent of almost 1,600 service bays, through new
stalls, changes in hours and other steps.
FCA US believes its Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat dealerships need to add 5,000 service technicians, 1,200 service advisers
and about 6,000 service bays by 2018 to keep up with growing consumer demand. Ⅲ
Larry P. Vellequette contributed to this report.
ubaru of America's program to increase service capacity 70
percent by 2018 is moving faster than expected, said Tom
Doll, president of Subaru of America.
About 40 percent of Subaru's U.S. dealers, representing 70 percent of the brand's annual sales volume, have signed up to expand
their service operations under the Fixed Operations Expansion, or
FOX, program. Subaru next will decide whether to launch phase II
of the FOX program, said Doll, who declined to give a timetable.
Subaru started the program with its large dealers. Those who began projects 18 months to two years ago
will be finishing their expansions soon,
Two years ago, Subaru gave each U.S.
dealership a report with recommenda2009
tions based on projected growth. Subaru
provides undisclosed financial support
based on how much each store spends on
service improvements such as additional
lifts and bays, service technology, shop
equipment and amenities.
Doll wouldn't give a figure for the total
outlay for the FOX program but said "it
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016
Editor’s Letter: Welcome to Fixed Ops Journal
Service Counter: Tracking fixed-ops numbers
Legal Lane: Court cases that affect you
Mobile mechanics: Do shop-free technicians threaten your business?
Mark Smith: A fixed-ops-focused dealer aims to change the industry
Adding capacity: Sales spur FCA, Subaru dealerships’ fixed-ops growth
Richard Truett: Toolmaker targets new techs
Designed for service: A look at a Minnesota dealership’s makeover
Weekend work: Service extends to Saturday, even Sunday
Tech exodus: How outdated policies worsen the tech shortage
Before Xtime: The origins of widely used scheduling software
Older parts: Toyota, Ford respond to older cars on the road
5 minutes with: Ford’s Toney, Toyota’s Laukes
Shop Talk: One question, multiple service directors
Fixed in Time: A look at service of yesteryear
Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016